Morphological and mechanical characteristics of the reconstructed rat abdominal wall following use of a wet electrospun biodegradable polyurethane elastomer scaffold
Although a variety of materials are currently used for abdominal wall repair, general complications encountered include herniation, infection, and mechanical mismatch with native tissue. An approach wherein a degradable synthetic material is ultimately replaced by tissue mechanically approximating the native state could obviate these complications. We report here on the generation of biodegradable scaffolds for abdominal wall replacement using a wet electrospinning technique in which fibers of a biodegradable elastomer, poly(ester urethane)urea (PEUU), were concurrently deposited with electrosprayed serum-based culture medium. Wet electrospun PEUU (wet ePEUU) was found to exhibit markedly different mechanical behavior and to possess an altered microstructure relative to dry processed ePEUU. In a rat model for abdominal wall replacement, wet ePEUU scaffolds (1 × 2.5 cm) provided a healing result that developed toward approximating physiologic mechanical behavior at 8 weeks. An extensive cellular infiltrate possessing contractile smooth muscle markers was observed together with extensive extracellular matrix (collagens, elastin) elaboration. Control implants of dry ePEUU and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene did not experience substantial cellular infiltration and did not take on the native mechanical anisotropy of the rat abdominal wall. These results illustrate the markedly different in vivo behavior observed with this newly reported wet electrospinning process, offering a potentially useful refinement of an increasingly common biomaterial processing technique.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 31, Issue 12, April 2010, Pages 3253–3265